In a few months, you may be able to do some quick shopping and grab a quick bite as you take the Metro. In a proposal that will add comfort to the passenger and generate additional revenue, the Metro Rail is planning to have new inclusions such as shops, eateries and office space in and around Metro stations.
The idea was to develop attractions around the Metro Rail station to increase the patronage as well as generate revenue by other means, rather than depending solely on ticket sales.
A senior metro rail official told City Express that they are looking at non-fare revenue so that Metro Rail doesn’t become a social burden. “We are planning to have 70% of revenue through ticketing and 25-30% through other sources like opening ATMs, shops as well as by selling advertisement space,” said the official.
Sources said Alandur, Ekkatuthangal and Arumbakkam stations will be the first set of stations where the proposals will be implemented. But eateries are being planned in all the seven Metro Rail stations operational in the Alandur-Koyambedu corridor.
“But the eateries will not be allowed to come into the stations and set up shop there, since that is a general policy. We are planning to locate them outside the station, like near the parking space,” said the Metro Rail official.
Sources said a few hotel groups have already expressed interest in setting up eateries near the Metro rail stations.
The available free space inside the stations will be rented out as office spaces and to set shops. The plans are to rent out office spaces in the top floors of the stations, in the area available besides the platforms. The shops are most likely to come on in the ground floors, so that they can catch eyes of commuters.
Besides, retail and office complexes are also being planned in and around the influence area of each of the stations. “The idea is to make the station attract more people. We want to be counted among the international metro stations,” says another official.
For advertisements, not just the space in the stations will be tapped. Even the trains will be painted with ads. Already one Metro rail has been painted with advertisement of a car brand. Sources said J C Decaux, a leading outdoor advertising company, has been appointed as concessionaire. The company has been appointed to promote Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) to be among the top three destination brands for advertising.
Wi-fi facility is also planned as an additional attraction in the station. “Already we have installed BTS (Base Trans-receiver System) in the station. It helps strengthen the mobile network signals in the station premises. It is interesting that the cellphone signal was available in Metro Rail stations, when it was almost blacked out in most parts of the city during the recent rains,” said an official. The officials plan to use this facility to provide Wi-fi as well.